San Francisco 49ers

A weakness leads to firing of 49ers’ strength coach; ‘too big of a deal for two years’

Hear from Jimmy Garoppolo for the first time since his season-ending injury

Jimmy Garoppolo answers questions about his injury, recovery and watching the game rather than playing.
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Jimmy Garoppolo answers questions about his injury, recovery and watching the game rather than playing.

49ers power brokers Kyle Shanahan and John Lynch vowed to take a look into why injuries have been so prevalent the past two seasons. They determined finding a new strength coach might help.

After placing 41 players on injured reserve since the start of 2017, San Francisco this week fired head strength and conditioning coach Ray Wright, a team spokesman confirmed to The Bee. NBC Sports Bay Area first reported the news.

“It’s been too big of a deal for two years. Injuries are pretty random, but it’s also affected us huge,” Shanahan said. “So that’s something that we definitely have to sit back and really look at it from all angles and put a lot of time into. Just try to find a better perspective at it.”

In some ways, injuries defined the 49ers season. They lost franchise quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo with a torn ACL in his left knee three weeks into the season, and the team dealt with several injuries on defense. Many players and coaches argued the lack of continuity on the defensive side was the root of San Francisco finishing with the NFL’s 28th-ranked scoring defense.

“There’s an old adage in football,” Lynch said, “... your best ability is availability. We haven’t had a lot of guys available, and that’s something we’re looking into hard. It’s been ongoing. We’ll continue to do that because it’s something that needs to change, and I don’t think anyone’s to blame. We have been studying it. We’ll continue to and try to get a handle on that.”

Other notable players to end 2018 on injured reserve: running back Jerick McKinnon (ACL tear), receiver Pierre Garçon (knee), defensive back Jimmie Ward (fractured forearm), safety Jaquiski Tartt (shoulder), receiver Dante Pettis (knee), running back Matt Breida (ankle), cornerback Ahkello Witherspoon (knee), safety Adrian Colbert (high ankle sprain), running back Raheem Mostert (fractured forearm), linebacker Brock Coyle (shoulder) and defensive end Dekoda Watson (calf).